>... So do you have any specific recommendations in a stiffer ski for my weight and ability range? I just finished looking at the 2002 K2 X MOD Pro at 174cm. They are rated for Advanced and Expert which I am not. Can a low intermediate like me be comfortable on this type of ski and advance with it? ...
A) Specific recommendations: From the comment in your first post that the two skis you were looking at were demos, I presume you want to keep the price within reason, and don't simply want to go to the store and pick up a new ski from this model year. Unfortunately, this makes any specific recommendations that I may make pretty useless because the chances are that unless I give you a list a mile long, you won't ever run into any of these skis in used or "demo" condition.
If you don' want to buy new equipment, I would suggest you do three things. First, familiarize yourself with the feel of a stiff ski and the feel of a soft ski by flexing a wide variety of new skis in your local ski stores. It is very important to limit yourself to getting familiar with skis of only the length range you are interested in (say 170-175), because longer skis will flex more than shorter skis, even if they have exactly the same intrinsic stiffness.
Second, move over to the 2nd hand dept, and flex whatever skis they have available in this 170-175 length range. If any are obviously stiffer than the rest, take a ruler out and measure them across at the widest point just back of the tip, and at the narrowest point in the center of the ski. If the tip of one of these stiff skis is more than 30 mm wider than the waist, this means that the ski is of fairly modern design, so write down its name. Ask the salesman what year the ski is from. (BTW, the salesman might also be able to give you some recommendations about any stiff, modern skis they have in stock, but with used skis, this approach is often less helpful than you would hope. )
Finally, send $20 or whatever it takes to access the older ski listings and reviews on Peter Keelty's site, www.techsupportforskiers.com,
and using the model year and mfgr, see if you can find reviews of any skis that met these criteria. If a review uses words like "burly" and "stable", either go back and buy it, or post a message here asking about it.
B) k2 Mod/Axis X Pro - Its a great ski for the 170-210 lb set. It is much stiffer than the Mod 7/8, but certainly is not the absolute stiffest ski on the market. If you can't find anything stiffer in the used dept, go for it. You will at least be at lot closer to your optimal stiffness.
C) Don't worry about an Advanced-Expert rating on skis. In 80% of the cases it will mean stable and suitable for high speed / heavy skiers, not twitchy and overly responsive. You will easily be able to grow with such a ski. Again, if you have a question about any particular ski, ask here.
D) I know that there are indeed some heavyweight regulars on Epic, but I don't remember specifically who they are. If none of them answers your request for advice, post a new thread with a title like, "Heavyweight skiers - need your advice on equipment". That should get them to respond.
Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress.
Tom / PM